The season starts here

Probably.

Well, we’re out of the FA Cup, although to be fair to everyone – still being in it come mid-February is a decent achievement.

A run that started on that horrible Friday night (and not just the weather) in early November, which ended yesterday, and gave us one of the best moments of the AFCW era to boot has now ended, and in slightly anti-climatic circumstances.

Your editor got roped into doing Charlton at the last minute, although I was able to refund my ticket**, and those there yesterday would have had a depressing sense of deja vu.

** – while AFCW gets many brickbats in the way it functions, with a lot of justification, to be fair to the office it’s very good with returning tickets. Quite a few clubs aren’t.

Play well, but one mistake in defence and the continued impotency up front puts yet another “L” in the column.

It’s practically mandatory to mention the sicknotes, but we’re relying now on Folivi (who again apparently showed some nice touches but had a feeble shot on him – though having a go is more than some others do) and Pigott.

A Pigott who is horribly off form at the moment, at that.

Is Jervis injured? He wasn’t on the bench again, and even Soares is starting to be rehabilitated. If he is AWOL, it comes to something that we’re in dire need up top but he’s still not missed.

In better news, it seems that Ramsdale is proving to be very popular. Shame he’ll be gone in the summer, but methinks we’ll be relying on loan keepers for a good while to come.

Still, this run has proven a few things to us. Firstly, it’s been a nice distraction. As we head back to fourteen cup finals (copyright W Downes), a cup run is always something different – especially if you get some decent ties out of it.

As said just now, the game against the Ammers will not be forgotten about for a long while, even from those who weren’t there. But winning at Fleetwood, the decent second half performance at Halifax and even Harringey will stick in the memory.

And in the case of the last one, for the wrong reasons. Though the immediate aftermath of that has changed the club’s direction for the next few years.

Secondly, we’ve made a nice bit of money. If we’d won yesterday it would have been even more, and if Palace win today we get an extra amount (if Donny win, they get the lot for being the furthest L1 side).

Whether it gets earmarked for the squad rebuild next season, or if it’s being kept aside for NPL, it doesn’t matter. The “budget” excuse wore thin ages ago, but now that card can’t be played any longer. At least not without a “what about the FA Cup money?” after it.

Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly for the rest of this season – the players can do it after all. I think that’s why there was so much bad feeling after Burton – we shit the bed at exactly the wrong time to do so.

Walter’s post match comments are pointing in that direction, although I expect our fate to be finally sealed before Easter weekend. But then, like nobody expected us to have such a decent cup run – nobody expects us to stay up either…

It now simply becomes a case of playing everything by ear, each game as it comes. We’re at Rochdale on Tuesday (your editor should be going, so we’ll lose), so get another result like we did at Walsall and who knows?

Then it’s Charlton, and the return of Taylor. As said earlier, your editor was at the Valley yesterday and neither side were all that. But we all expect to lose that fixture, so more importance is put on the game at Spotland.

Come to think of it, the most important games seem to be the ones away from home. Which is maybe just as well, considering it’s still Theme Park KM (the place where all visitors go home happy) and we’ve reserved our most lousy performances in front of our own support.

What will happen between now and Bradford on the 4th May? Who knows. But one thing is pretty much nailed on – in the next fourteen games we’re not going to get a penalty….